David Walsh: I’m Done Working with Jerks

Reposted from LinkedIn for your end of the week reading enjoyment:

Jerks come in all shapes and sizes. A few of jerkpngthem are actually pretty good at what they do. But I don’t need to work with them. You don’t either. There is some psychology behind jerks, I’m sure. Some are jerks because they are making up for something else. They feel inferior. Some jerks are jerks because of the opposite: they think they are all of that. Some jerks never set out to be that way. They just got so self-centered, so on their own trip, they forgot that there might be other people in the world, and that those people actually might have a point of view. They lost themselves in their sole pursuit of title, money or power – or behind whatever fitting psychological / sociological label there might be.

One time I worked with a guy who would give a soul-numbing soliloquy before every marathon meeting he held in order to ‘set the tone’. In one particularly yawn inspiring opening half hour monologue he essentially confessed that he himself had become a Jerk. Note the use of capital “J”. He wasn’t entirely sure when it had happened but he had an epiphany that he was now a class-A certified Jerk. You could have heard a fly burp in that room it was so still. And for what it’s worth, after his admission he did make subtle and not so easy strides to change. I applaud him for that.

A Jerk is someone who is:

  • Underhanded, game playing or passive-aggressive
  • Misogynistic, bullying or abusive
  • Dismissive of earnest feedback or the contributions of others
  • A scorekeeper or grudge-holder waiting to ‘get back’ at someone or some group
  • Untrustworthy or lacking candor (meeting ‘nodders’ who are backroom ‘plotters’)
  • A turf protector who roadblocks improvements or positive change
  • Blamestormers, credit stealers, under-the-bus-chuckers as well as
  • Sideline-sitting, non-committal, I-told-you-soers who try and wheedle into the glow of success after all the risk is gone
  • Work shifters who push their obligations on other people or departments

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